Politically astute and committed to her cause, Demi Lovato knows that in American culture, it often takes some star power to get things done. That’s why she is headed to Washington D.C. on Tuesday to push for mental health reform, according to celebrity gossip mogul Perez Hilton. Lovato, 23, will promote her “Be Vocal: Speak Up For Mental Health” campaign as part of the National Council for Behavioral Health’s “Hill Day” and she will meet with legislators while on Capitol Hill. Demi launched the “Be Vocal” initiative earlier this year.
Demi Lovato recently spoke with People Magazine regarding her own struggle with bipolar disorder and explained her aspirations for affecting change in America’s troubled mental health system. She is most concerned with improving access to treatment and services, as well as eliminating the stigma associated with mental health diagnoses.
“I think it’s important that people no longer look at mental illness as something taboo to talk about. It’s something that’s extremely common, one in five adults has a mental illness, so basically everyone is essentially connected to this problem and this epidemic … The problem with mental illness is people don’t look at it as a physical illness. When you think about it, the brain is actually the most complex organ in your body. We need to treat it like a physical illness and take it seriously.”
Lovato first publically disclosed that she is bipolar four years ago, but she has spoken on her personal challenges with this condition on many occasions since then in hopes that she might help others. As previously reported by the Inquisitr, Demi Lovato has come to terms with the diagnosis, recently describing the bipolar disorder as “a part of who I am.” She has also disclosed that she treats the issue with medication.
The National Institute of Mental Health describes bipolar disorder as a “manic-depressive illness … that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks.” A NIMH study indicates that somewhere around 3.9 percent of Americans have suffered from bipolar disorder at some point in their lives. Individuals 19 to 29 years of age constituted the largest affected age range. According to NIMH data, 25 is the average age of onset for bipolar disorder.
In addition to her public activism and her “Be Vocal” campaign, Demi Lovato is also expressing her feelings and experiences regarding mental health issues as an artist. Her forthcoming album, entitled Confident, will include the song “Father,” which was inspired by her Lovato’s late father Patrick. The elder Lovato suffered from schizophrenia as well as bipolar disorder. He passed away in 2013 at the age of 54 after a battle with cancer. The track won’t be the first time Lovato has chronicled her father’s troubles through song. She also sang about her dad’s problems with alcohol in the 2011 song “For the Love of Daughter.” Her new effort is far more conciliatory, though, as Lovato has come to terms with her dad’s troubled life.
“He inspired my charity in order to help people live a happy life,” Demi Lovato told People. Nobody deserves to suffer. But it was a very complicated situation, and that’s why I decided to write about it. Hopefully people will be able to use that as inspiration and something that will help comfort them.”
Demi Lovato will join a large contingent of mental health professionals and advocates along with legislators and others at the National Council for Behavioral Health’s Hill Day. The two-day event features a variety of conferences, training seminars, and special ceremonies related to mental health treatment.
[Image via Isaac Brekken/Getty Images for iHeart Media; National Institute of Mental Health; David Becker/Getty Images for iHeartMedia]